Excellent communication skills apply to a host of career paths. Graduate school provides an advanced study of communications and allows you to seek out job opportunities as a manager, director, or supervisor in marketing, public relations, and other fields.

Consider 10 of the best online master's in communications programs below. After the program rankings, keep reading to uncover further details about this degree, including curriculum content, admission requirements, and potential career paths.

What Are the Best Communications Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

  1. University of Florida - Gainesville, FL
  2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Chapel Hill, NC
  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Champaign, IL
  4. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
  5. Columbia University - New York, NY
  6. Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN
  7. Mississippi College - Clinton, MS
  8. Florida International University - Miami, FL
  9. American University - Washington, DC
  10. University of Denver - Denver, CO

As every business and industry competes for visibility and consumer loyalty, skilled communications professionals are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of public relations and marketing managers will grow by 8% between 2018-2028. Market research analyst jobs are anticipated to grow by a staggering 20%.

Although a bachelor's degree satisfies minimum requirements for entry-level positions in these fields, earning a master's can increase your competitiveness in both hiring and promotion decisions.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Communications Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 90%

The University of Florida offers a fully online master of arts in mass communication through its College of Journalism and Communication. The career-focused curriculum prepares candidates for success in their fields, with 97% of graduates securing jobs within three months of completing the program.

Degree plans vary widely depending on which of the eight specializations students choose. For example, the 37-credit audience analytics track centers on consumer behavior, enabling learners to work as brand analysts, media researchers, and product development managers. Alternatively, candidates who pick the political communication specialization learn to foster group engagement and build campaigns.

To enroll in one of UF's online mass communication programs, applicants submit a personal essay, a current resume, and three recommendation letters. Candidates with previous graduate/professional degrees may obtain a GRE exemption.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Mass Communication
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Audience analytics; digital strategy; global strategic communication; political communication; public relations; public interest communication; social media; web design
Tuition: $17,441-$32,773/total
Credit Requirements: 33-37 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (352) 273-3412
Email: distancesupport@jou.ufl.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 89%

The University of North Carolina's School of Journalism and Media provides an online master of arts in digital communication program for working professionals. Candidates complete a part-time curriculum and develop the specialized skills needed to occupy leadership roles upon graduation. The cohort size is limited to 20 students to foster peer-to-peer collaboration and faculty support.

Candidates take 12 predetermined classes, including psychology of audiences, media analytics, and information visualization. Students engage in two required on-campus residencies: a two-day orientation and a five-day summer practicum. The program culminates with a thesis project, in which students work with a faculty advisor to conduct and present research.

This online master's in communication program admits students in the fall. Applicants may gain GRE exemption if they fulfill one of four criteria, like displaying 3-5 years of relevant work experience and a minimum 3.3 undergraduate GPA.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Digital Communication
School Status: Public
Tuition: $2,262/course in-state; $4,698/course out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2.5 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: 3 years of professional communication experience

Contact

Phone: (919) 843-9471
Email: mjgrad@unc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

Through a collaboration between the school's College of Media and College of Business, students can earn a fully online master of science in strategic brand communication in under two years. This program combines the latest marketing and multimedia practices with a contemporary business management education. Graduates are prepared to lead multidisciplinary teams in senior leadership positions.

The curriculum covers topics like consumer insights, strategic media management, and promotional strategy. Online master's in communication students also analyze and visualize database-generated information. They round out their graduate training by executing a research plan for brand communication and campaign evaluation.

In addition to academic transcripts, applicants submit a personal statement and three recommendation letters. Distance learners may engage in weekly live sessions to connect with peers and instructors.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Strategic Brand Communication
School Status: Public
Tuition: $875/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 15 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (217) 244-7602
Email: ms-sbc@illinois.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

Johns Hopkins University — based in Baltimore, Maryland — facilitates distance education through Blackboard Learn. Graduate students can enroll in an online master of arts in communication program. Instead of a fully remote curriculum, candidates may opt to take some evening and weekend classes at the school's District of Columbia campus to create a hybrid learning experience.

Required coursework covers topics like changing behavior through communication and applied qualitative/quantitative research. As one of the best online master's in communication programs, Johns Hopkins delivers six optional concentrations. For example, students pursuing the health communication concentration create and manage strategic healthcare campaigns.

Application materials include a resume, three recommendations, and a writing sample. Applicants also furnish a 500-word statement of purpose. Johns Hopkins may accept students who do not meet certain GPA and work criteria if they display adequate GRE scores.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Applied research in communication; public and media relations; political communication; health communication; digital communication; corporate and nonprofit communication
Tuition: $4,212/course
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12-24 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (844) 417-0874
Email: aapadmissions@jhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Columbia University

New York, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 96%

Columbia University offers 17 career-focused graduate programs through its School of Professional Studies. The catalog includes an executive master of science in strategic communication that combines flexible online coursework with weekend classes on the school's New York City campus. Students gain creative thinking and data-supported analytical skills to develop communication strategies that advance an organization's mission.

This online master's in communication degree plan contains core classes in digital strategy and research application and insights. Candidates can personalize their education by picking five electives, like ethical decision-making and building internal engagement. The program culminates with a capstone project, in which students investigate a pertinent issue in the field and devise applicable solutions.

Applicants submit a resume, two recommendation letters, a 750-word statement of purpose, and a 250-word supplemental essay. They also send a one-minute video response to a randomly selected prompt. The Office of Student Financial Planning helps students access loans and private scholarships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Executive Master of Science in Strategic Communication
School Status: Private
Tuition: $2,182/point
Credit Requirements: 36 points
Program Length: 16 months

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: At least 6 years of professional communication experience

Contact

Phone: (212) 854-9666
Email: communications@sps.columbia.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

Purdue University is a leader in distance education, offering over 200 online undergraduate and graduate programs. Degree options include a master of science in communication that features four concentrations. Students learn to communicate with investors and consumers and develop images and brands for diverse organizations.

Core classes center on professional research and ethics, while distance learners explore advanced topics through their chosen concentration. For example, students in the integrated communication and advertising track learn to craft persuasive messages for interpersonal purposes and strategic social media campaigns.

This online master's in communication features fully asynchronous coursework, and there are no residency requirements. To apply, prospective students submit transcripts from regionally accredited schools, a 500-word personal statement, an updated resume, and three recommendation letters. Purdue maintains three start dates per year.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Communication
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Strategic communication/public relations; integrated communication and advertising; communication and leadership; health communication
Tuition: $451/credit in-state; $751/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12-20 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (877) 497-5851
Email: gradconnect@purdue.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Mississippi College

Clinton, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

Located in the city of Clinton, Mississippi College offers 80 undergraduate majors and more than 50 graduate programs, including a master of science in applied communication with a generalist track. Students can earn their credentials entirely online through Blackboard or take evening classes on campus for a hybrid learning experience.

This online master's in communication degree plan contains required coursework in public relations and theories of persuasion. Students fill out remaining credits with electives, picking from classes like media programming and management, intercultural communication, and dynamics of group communication. They may also pursue internships and independent research projects under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

To help students build their professional network, the college offers free membership to the Mississippi Communication Association and the Public Relations Association of Mississippi. Degree candidates may apply for a variety of need-based grants and institutional scholarships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Applied Communication
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Generalist; journalism; theatre
Tuition: $609/credit
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (601) 925-3457
Email: fortenbe@mc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Florida International University

Miami, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Florida International University hosts a flagship campus in Miami and delivers remote learning opportunities through Canvas. Online students pick from more than 100 degree options, including a master of science in mass communication with a global strategic communications track. Program candidates can further expand their education by pursuing an optional graduate certificate in conflict resolution and consensus building.

Core requirements consist of applied research methods in the mass media and ethics/social responsibility. Students personalize their curriculum by taking electives like global reputation management, media planning, and digital content creation. They finish the program by completing a research-focused professional project.

Learners can enroll in this online master's in communication program in the fall or spring. Applicants submit a current resume, two recommendation letters, and an essay describing their career goals. FIU offers merit scholarships and graduate assistance.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Mass Communication
School Status: Public
Available Track: Global strategic communications
Tuition: $25,000/total
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (305) 348-3125
Email: onlineprograms@fiu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

American University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

American University offers 11 graduate degrees through its School of Communication. Options include an online master of arts in strategic communication with four available concentrations. The curriculum teaches candidates to target key audiences and create compelling messages that address the challenges of a changing digital media world.

Required coursework covers topics like communication theory and strategic research applications. Based on their chosen concentration, students take advanced electives in areas such as visual design, grassroots digital advocacy, and social marketing for social impact. This online master's in communication program culminates with an immersive research course, in which candidates develop and present a long-form project or paper.

Applicants do not need academic or professional experience in strategic communication. However, they must demonstrate a commitment to the field by submitting two recommendation letters and a 1,000-word statement of purpose.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Advocacy and social impact; digital strategies and analytics; corporate communication and reputation management; public diplomacy and global affairs
Tuition: $1,759/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 20 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (202) 885-2040
Email: gradcomm@american.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of Denver

Denver, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

The University of Denver's University College delivers 13 career-relevant graduate programs. Students can complete their degree entirely online or through a hybrid learning format that incorporates evening glasses on campus. Degree options include a master of arts in communication management, which centers on leadership and organizational change. Participants can choose from six concentration options.

Online master's in communication candidates take core classes like business fundamentals, applied critical thinking, and storytelling through research and measurement. Distance learners who pursue the public relations track learn to leverage social media to connect with influencers and build quality content. Alternatively, the learning and development concentration teaches candidates to improve employee performance through data-supported training programs.

DU uses four yearly admission dates. Applicants furnish a resume, two recommendation letters, and a 500-word personal statement. The university accepts up to 12 transfer credits toward graduate program completion.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication Management
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Dispute resolution; leadership communication; learning and development; marketing communication; organizational development; public relations
Tuition: $34,224/total
Credit Requirements: 48 credits
Program Length: 18 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (303) 871-2291
Email: ucolsupport@du.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Marist College

Poughkeepsie, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Based in Poughkeepsie, New York, Marist College offers more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programs, including a fully online master of arts in integrated marketing communication that focuses on contemporary digital interactive marketing. Full-time students can complete the program in 18 months, while learners who enroll part time usually graduate in less than three years.

Course topics consist of public relations management, global consumer insights, and social media strategics. Candidates also learn to conduct marketing research and use analytical tools to facilitate decision-making at the individual and organizational levels. This online master's in communication program culminates with a capstone project, in which students develop an integrated brand experience.

Marist accepts applications for the fall and spring semesters. Accelerated online classes start every eight weeks. Application materials include an up-to-date resume, three recommendation letters, and a personal statement detailing career objectives.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communication
School Status: Private
Tuition: $850/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (845) 575-3800
Email: graduate@marist.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Liberty University is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and enrolls over 100,000 students annually. The school delivers distance education through Blackboard, offering graduate degrees like an online master of arts in communication. The accelerated curriculum is offered through eight-week courses, where students learn to use brand storytelling and social media networking techniques to cultivate relationships with donors and consumers.

The degree plan includes classes like interpersonal communication in the marketplace, strategic storytelling, and effective social media. Candidates develop the skills needed to implement strategic communication campaigns using digital media and data analytics. They also learn to effectively manage multidisciplinary teams by taking advantage of creative problem-solving and conflict resolution.

This online master's in communication program allows candidates to satisfy up to half of their course requirements with transfer credits. Liberty provides internal and external scholarships for distance learners. Students may also access federal loans and grants.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (800) 424-9596
Email: luograd@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 80%

Michigan State University delivers 11 graduate degrees through its College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Distance learners can pursue a fully online master of arts in strategic communication, which comes with one-, two-, and three-year degree plans. Previous graduates of this program have gone onto careers with major employers, such as General Motors, Amazon, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force.

Online master's in communication candidates take core classes in persuasion techniques for working professionals; digital content creation, curation, and promotion; and ethical concerns and controversies. Students also learn to acquire and analyze data related to media consumption and consumer behavior. The program finishes with a practical capstone experience that tasks candidates with completing a business project in a virtual team setting.

MSU facilitates fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Prospective learners submit a resume or CV, three recommendations, and a one-page academic statement. They also include a one-page narrative about their personal life experiences.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Media analytics; digital media; organizational leadership
Tuition: $786/credit in-state; $1,544/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-3 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: At least 3 years of professional experience

Contact

Phone: (517) 432-5255
Email: stratcom@msu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Webster University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Webster University provides more than 35 graduate degrees. Its catalog includes an online master of arts in communication management that teaches students to use best practices when implementing marketing and social media campaigns. Graduates are prepared to occupy leadership positions in the corporate business, public advocacy, and governmental sectors.

Required classes cover topics like media and culture, organizational communication, and media production management. Students align their degree plan with individual interests by choosing five relevant electives. Instead of a fully online master's in communication curriculum, Webster allows candidates to create a hybrid learning experience by incorporating flexible classes at the school's campus in St. Louis, Missouri, or Leiden, Netherlands.

Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 2.5 may apply for conditional admission. Webster offers a variety of financial aid opportunities, like the Grad to Grad Scholarship for university alumni. Military personnel enjoy tuition discounts.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication Management
School Status: Private
Tuition: $780/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (314) 246-7800
Email: admit@webster.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Texas Tech University delivers distance education through Blackboard, offering more than 50 graduate programs. Degree options include a fully online master of arts in strategic communication and innovation that prepares candidates for senior leadership positions in global digital organizations. TTU uses three start dates each year, and students can learn at their own pace by taking 1-3 classes each semester.

The curriculum contains seven required classes, including research methods, mass communication theory, and strategic writing and planning. Distance learners also delve into media management, entrepreneurship, and consulting. They fill out their remaining credits with three electives and finish the program by completing a capstone research project.

To enroll in this online master's in communication program, applicants submit a resume, three recommendations, academic writing samples, and a 300-500-word personal statement. Candidates with a GPA below 3.0 must also furnish GRE scores.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Innovation
School Status: Public
Tuition: $283/credit in-state; $755/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (806) 742-7227
Email: elearning@ttu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 83%

Syracuse University offers a fully online master of science in communications through its School of Public Communications. The curriculum teaches students to plan and execute campaigns for nonprofit, for-profit, and government organizations. The program operates live classes that enable distance learners to collaborate with peers and receive one-on-one support from faculty.

Required coursework covers topics like media law, multimedia storytelling, and digital communication systems. The public relations specialization prepares candidates to drive brand recognition according to client needs. As one of the best online master's in communication programs, Syracuse gives students free WeWork Global Access membership, which allows them to access hundreds of workspaces worldwide.

Applicants undergo a holistic evaluation process that does not include strict GPA minimums or standardized test requirements. Application materials include a resume, three recommendations, and a 500-word personal statement.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Communications
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Public relations; advertising; journalism innovation
Tuition: $1,964/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 15 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Contact

Phone: (844) 797-2666
Email: admissions@communications.syr.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Based in Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga University powers distance education with Blackboard and offers seven online graduate degrees. This catalog includes a master of arts in communication and leadership studies that comes with six optional concentrations. Through a career-focused degree plan, students gain the data analysis and research evaluation skills needed to communicate clear and persuasive messages to target audiences.

Online master's in communication candidates take required classes in content creation, leadership ethics, and master's-level writing. Learners who pick the digital media strategies concentration develop the ability to visualize data and foster social media engagement. Students must participate in one three-day immersion, and they have the option to engage in additional practica throughout the program.

Gonzaga operates five yearly start dates. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 need to submit a detailed explanation. The university provides scholarships and graduate assistantships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Change leadership; college teaching; digital media strategies; global leadership; servant leadership; strategic and organizational communication
Tuition: $955/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (509) 313-6235
Email: callaghan@gonzaga.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

University of Michigan - Flint

Flint, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

The University of Michigan-Flint powers distance education with Blackboard, delivering 20 fully remote and hybrid graduate programs. Offerings include an online master of arts in applied communication that operates a cohort learning structure. Students progress through the curriculum at the same pace, collaborating on projects that enable them to build a professional portfolio and attract future employers.

Coursework covers topics like applied research methods, group communication and collaboration, and leadership as a communication phenomenon. Students examine case studies related to persuasion and emerging technologies. This online master's in communication program culminates with a capstone experience, in which candidates complete research-focused projects under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

Prospective learners must possess regionally accredited baccalaureate credentials. Application documents include a statement of purpose, an up-to-date resume, and three recommendation letters. UM-Flint accepts applications on a rolling basis.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Applied Communication
School Status: Public
Tuition: $634/credit in-state; $948/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (810) 766-6679
Email: flintgradoffice@umich.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Northeastern University

Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

Northeastern University offers more than 230 graduate programs, including an online master of science in corporate and organizational communication through its Lifelong Learning Network. Students can follow a part- or full-time degree plan, examining the effects of social technologies on the communication patterns of customers, investors, and employees. By attending Northeastern, learners gain access to a network of 255,000 alumni and 3,350 industry partners.

The online master's in communication curriculum covers core topics like ethical issues, organizational culture and climate, and network and information management. Students fill out their remaining credits by completing guided electives or pursuing one of six career-focused concentrations. They also gain hands-on experience through a 12-week practicum.

Northeastern requires applicants to submit a professional resume and two recommendation letters from current or former employers. Prospective students also write a 500-1,000-word statement of purpose that details their program expectations and goals.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Human resource management; public and media relations; leadership; project management; social media; cross-cultural communication
Tuition: $32,700/program
Credit Requirements: 45 quarter credits
Program Length: 1-2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (877) 668-7727
Email: cpsadmissions@northeastern.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Eastern Illinois University delivers its distance education through the Desire2Learn platform, including an online master of arts in communication studies. The curriculum of this program centers on historical and contemporary developments in communication theory. EIU boasts a high success rate, with 86% of graduates gaining employment or enrolling in doctoral programs within three months of graduation.

Distance learners interested in a fully remote curriculum may choose the communication and leadership concentration. This track enables candidates to delve into communication practices at the interpersonal, small group, and organizational levels. Students round out their graduate training by completing a creative or research-oriented thesis.

This online master's in communication program also delivers five hybrid concentration options that require candidates to take some evening classes on campus. Application materials include an academic writing sample, a resume, and three recommendation letters. Applicants also submit a statement explaining why they want to attend EIU.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication Studies
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Communication and leadership; strategic communication; interpersonal communication processes; media and critical studies; pedagogy option; graduate certificate in communication processes
Tuition: $307/credit in-state; $736/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (217) 581-2020
Email: asjacobs@eiu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

The University of Alabama delivers over 50 online graduate degrees powered by Blackboard. Programs include a master of arts in communication studies with an organizational leadership specialization. Through a comprehensive curriculum, students examine the theoretical and applied concepts of persuasion, interpersonal discussion, and public discourse.

Online master's in communication candidates take required classes in qualitative research methods and diversity issues. They also analyze how emerging technologies impact human communication and culture. As part of the organizational leadership specialization, students learn to lead multidisciplinary groups and facilitate negotiation and conflict resolution.

UA accepts applications year round. Prospective students must earn at least a 300 on the GRE or score in the upper 50th percentile on the MAT. The university funds a variety of scholarships, including awards reserved for communication candidates.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Communication Studies
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Organizational leadership
Tuition: $420/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (800) 467-0227
Email: cisgradstudies@ua.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Through its Mizzou Online platform, the University of Missouri delivers more than 125 remote undergraduate and graduate degrees. These offerings include a master of arts in journalism with a strategic communication emphasis. The hybrid curriculum of this degree track prepares students for careers like senior proposal coordinator, director of major gifts, and media relations manager.

Coursework covers topics like visual communication, branded strategic storytelling, and health news and promotion. Candidates also learn to engage virtual audiences with regards to changing media business models. This online master's in communication program requires students to complete at least one on-campus seminar, with additional experiential learning available through optional practica.

Mizzou facilitates five start dates each year. Applicants submit three essays, three recommendation letters, and an up-to-date resume. Three out of four graduate students receive financial aid, which may come in the form of federal awards and/or institutional scholarships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Journalism
School Status: Public
Available emphasis: Strategic communication
Tuition: $849/credit
Credit Requirements: 37 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: At least 3 years of experience in journalism or a field related to strategic communication

Contact

Phone: (573) 882-2491
Email: mizzouonline@missouri.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 71%

Colorado State University has been a leader in distance education for over 50 years. Today, the institution offers 40 online degrees, including a master's in communication and media management. Through a blended learning format, students gain the skills needed to occupy leadership positions like web operations manager, fundraising director, and digital games developer.

Over the course of four intensive semesters and two summer sessions, students delve into topics like managing communication systems, organizational media production, and advanced professional writing. This online master's in communication program also teaches candidates to conduct digital media research and evaluate findings. Learners meet in person once per week at the Denver Center to discuss readings and collaborate on projects.

Students can begin their graduate education at three points throughout the year. Applicants submit a resume/CV, three recommendation letters, a personal statement, and three samples of professional or scholarly writing.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Communication and Media Management
School Status: Public
Tuition: $709/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (970) 491-2665
Email: joy.nyenhuis@colostate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

California Baptist University

Riverside, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

California Baptist University maintains a flagship campus in Riverside and delivers over 40 fully online degrees. CBU's master of arts in strategic communication teaches students to develop and oversee campaigns for the public relations and media sectors. CBU graduates can succeed as research writers, market analysts, and strategic communication directors.

Online master's in communication candidates complete 10 predetermined classes. Topics include emerging digital trends; social influence and behavior; and communication management, leadership, and decision-making. Participants round out the program by designing and implementing a creative capstone project that integrates theory with practical experiences.

In addition to official academic transcripts, applicants send in a 500-word personal statement that details their purpose for entering the program and their long-term professional goals. Distance learners may access government funding and private scholarships. CBU delivers distance education through Blackboard.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
School Status: Private
Tuition: $580/unit
Credit Requirements: 30 major units
Program Length: 12 months

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (951) 343-3927
Email: cbuonline@calbaptist.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University offers more than 125 fully online degrees and certificates. Distance learners can enroll in the school's master of science in communication program, which prepares graduates for marketing, journalism, digital media, and public relations careers. The hands-on curriculum requires candidates to complete a six-month internship; exemptions may be available to students with relevant professional experience.

Students take core classes in theories of persuasion and managing communication professional identities. As one of the best online master's in communication programs, Drexel enables students to personalize their degree plan by choosing from three concentrations. Options include a part-time science and health communication track, which covers topics like medical writing, ethical issues, and public health campaigns.

Program participants can begin classes at the beginning of any academic quarter. Application materials include a resume, two professional recommendation letters, and a 750-1,000-word personal essay.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Communication
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Public communication; science and health communication; technical communication
Tuition: $1,303/credit
Credit Requirements: 45 quarter credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE for applicants with a GPA below 3.0

Contact

Phone: (877) 215-0009
Email: duonline@drexel.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Master's in Communications Program Overview

Bachelor's degrees aim to provide students with comprehensive foundational knowledge and skills in their chosen major. Master's degrees offer a narrower approach to academics, zeroing in on a specific area within a larger discipline — strategic communications, corporate communications, or marketing communications, for example.

The core curriculum content you encounter during your online master's in communication will vary according to its focus. Students in one program may take an organizational communication course, while others work through a brand management class. Available concentrations, discussed below, provide further opportunity for customization of your degree.

Regardless of focus or concentration, every master's in communication works toward similar overarching goals. Graduates are prepared to enter the workforce with the knowledge and abilities required to meet communication challenges, craft and deliver effective messages, and adapt consistently in a changing digital landscape.

Common Master's in Communications Degree Courses

Theory of Communication

This course introduces students to modern theories of communication, including persuasion, public relations, interpersonal communication, and mass communication. Students learn how theory is applied to research, practice, and literature, as well as how to apply theory to their own interests in the field.

Strategic and Corporate Communication

This course introduces students to principles of strategic and/or corporate communication. Topics may include evaluating and developing communication campaigns, identifying and targeting audiences, and communicating with stakeholders. Students gain a solid understanding of how to implement effective communication campaigns and media strategies in business.

Digital Media Storytelling

Students in a digital media storytelling class learn how to assemble engaging material using digital media tools. Coursework utilizes sample readings and hands-on assignments to discuss narrative and persuasive styles; examine theoretical and policy issues; and hone qualitative skills such as finding, verifying, and crafting stories for online platforms and social media.

Communication Research Methods

This course teaches students how to find, read, interpret, evaluate, and apply scientific research to solve problems in the field of communications. Common topics include effective use of library scholarship; interpretation of qualitative and quantitative findings; and the significance of research methods such as focus groups, case studies, and surveys.

Capstone or Thesis

The majority of online master's programs in communication require students to complete a culminating experience. Depending on the program, this requirement may be satisfied by a capstone project or a thesis. Each of these major final projects integrates theory, research, hands-on experience, and real-world application.

Related Master's in Communications Degree Concentrations

Political Communication

A concentration in political communication prepares graduates for careers as media consultants, campaign communications managers, social media strategists, or public affairs strategists. Coursework commonly covers speechwriting, digital political strategy, voter/donor/volunteer engagement and mobilization, and communication ethics.

Digital Communication/Strategy

A concentration in digital communication or digital strategy provides students with the foundational knowledge required to succeed in careers focused on online marketing, audience engagement, and customer conversion. Hands-on assignments and coursework cover topics such as creation of compelling copy, lead generation, branding, web development, and ethics.

Marketing Communication

A concentration in marketing communication prepares students for careers in advertising, public relations, and sales. Students learn to develop and create integrated marketing campaigns with strategic objectives, clearly defined audiences, and measurable ROI results. Brand management, organizational communication, and leadership may also be discussed.

Public Relations

This concentration provides a comprehensive overview of the steps required to execute a public relations campaign, including pitching, planning, and budgeting. Students may also take courses on crisis communication, ethics and corporate social responsibility, and strategic writing. Graduates are prepared for careers as public relations directors, brand ambassadors, and event coordinators.

Health Communication

A concentration in health communication prepares graduates for careers as health communications specialists in a number of industries, including government, private healthcare, insurance, medical device manufacturing, and healthcare publishing. Coursework covers health policy and advocacy, medical journalism, science writing, and public health administration.

Online Master's in Communications Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Prior to beginning any master's program, applicants must graduate with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. For an online master's in communication, students do not typically need a related undergraduate major, although schools may prefer transcripts that show completion of relevant coursework. A few select schools offer dual BA/MA programs.

  • Minimum GPA

    A majority of master's degrees either prefer or require applicants to demonstrate a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA on undergraduate coursework. Depending on the school, a minimum requirement may apply to the applicant's cumulative GPA or only to the grade achieved in the last 60 semester credits (two years) of their bachelor's.

  • GRE Scores

    To better evaluate the abilities of applicants, some schools request or require the submission of standardized test scores. Minimum scores may not be explicitly mentioned in admission guidelines. Depending on the school, you may qualify for an exemption from this requirement based on your undergraduate GPA.

  • Essay or Writing Sample

    Understandably, graduate schools seek out prospective communications students with strong writing skills. Many admissions guidelines include a requirement for an essay, writing sample, and/or personal statement. These provide applicants with an opportunity to address their qualifications and to discuss how the program aligns with their personal and professional goals.

  • Work Experience

    While not a common entrance requirement for online master's in communication programs, some schools seek applicants with relevant employment history. Prior internships, paid positions, or volunteer work in communications are valuable for applicants who completed their undergraduate study in an unrelated discipline.


Online Master's in Communications Career Paths

Graduates with an online master's in communication commonly pursue leadership positions in a number of industries, including business and marketing, government and political communication, journalism and media, and healthcare. Individuals with less interest in a corporate work environment may consider completing a doctorate to work as a postsecondary educator.

Licensure is not typically required to pursue employment or advancement in communication. Rather, years of experience and proven results lead to upward mobility. However, those seeking employment as a communications teacher in a high school will need to satisfy state-specific requirements for teaching certification.


Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a master's in communications?

Completing an online master's in communications results in advanced, transferable skills that allow professionals to pursue work in business, politics, journalism and media, and healthcare. A few potential job titles for graduates include marketing manager, market research analyst, human resource manager, and public relations manager.

How much can you make with a master's in communications?

Income rates for communications professionals can vary widely according to industry, employer, job title, experience, and geographic location. The BLS provides the following data on median salaries for popular communications careers nationwide: $132,620 (marketing manager), $114,800 (public relations manager), $62,170 (writers and authors).

Is communications a good career?

Communication intersects with and impacts everything — individual personal choices, consumer habits, global events. Of course, what makes a "good career" is highly subjective, but in a field as broad as communication, you can pursue a range of opportunities with excellent pay and potential for job growth.

Discover Similar Degree Programs

Looking for something else? Explore these other online degrees.

Additional Reading and Resources

Want more? We have additional resources to help you in every stage of your educational journey.